Nowadays an iPhone can do just about anything a computer can do. Which can be amazing, but it can also be really scary when you think about what kind of content your kids can access. We’ve put together a guide of the iPhone parental controls you need to know about to keep your kids digital life safe.
Parental Controls on iPhone
The iPhone parental controls for iOS 12 is located under the Screen Time Settings. Follow these instructions to get set up restricting content on your child’s device.
1. Go to Settings and tap Screen Time.
2. Tap Continue, then choose “This is My [Device]” or “This is My Child’s [Device].”
- If you’re the parent or guardian of your device and want to prevent another family member from changing your settings, tap Use Screen Time Passcode to create a passcode. Then re-enter the passcode to confirm.
- If you’re setting up Screen Time on your child’s device, follow the prompts until you get to Parent Passcode and enter a passcode. Re-enter the passcode to confirm.
3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. If asked, enter your passcode, then turn on Content & Privacy.
Once you have a passcode set up you can choose what type of content to allow and block from your child’s iPhone device. Including:
- Set content and privacy restrictions
- Prevent iTunes and App Store purchases
- Allow built-in apps and features
- Prevent explicit content and content ratings
- Restrict Siri web search
- Restrict Game Center
- Prevent web content
- Allow changes to Privacy Settings
- Allow changes to other settings and features
Safari on iOS
iOS can automatically filter website content to limit access to adult content in Safari and apps on your device. You can also add specific websites to an approved or blocked list, or you can limit access to only approved websites. Follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > Screen Time.
- Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions and enter your Screen Time passcode.
- Tap Content Restrictions, then tap Web Content.
- Choose Unrestricted Access, Limit Adult Websites, or Allowed Websites Only.
Depending on the access you allow, you might need to add information, like the website that you want to restrict.
Ask to Buy
With Ask to Buy, you can give kids the freedom to make their own choices while still controlling their spending and approving their purchases and downloads.
With Ask to Buy and Family Sharing, whenever a child initiates a new purchase or free download, a request goes to the family organizer. The organizer can review the item and approve the purchase or decline the request right from their own iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. For example, this could be a request for items in the iTunes, Apple Books, or App Store, In-App Purchases, or iCloud storage.
If the family organizer approves the purchase, the content downloads automatically to their family member’s device. If they decline, no purchase or download will take place.
Ask to Buy is turned on by default for children under the age of 13. To add children 18 years to 13 years, follow these instructions:
- Go to Settings > [your name] and tap Family Sharing.
- Tap your family member’s name.
- Tap Ask to Buy
Parental Monitoring Apps
With a parental control monitoring app you can track your child’s iPhone activity and control what they have access to. Parents are able to see activities including texts, private messages, web browsing history, social media, photos, videos and more. Parental control monitoring apps are a great tool in preventing your child from becoming a victim of cyberbullying or being exposed to an online predator.
Our favorite app is PhoneSpector. This app allows you to control and monitor your child’s phone and texts all from a personal dashboard. It also provides you with GPS location tracking of the device so you know where they are at all times. We reviewed the top top parental monitoring apps for iPhone here.
Key Features of PhoneSpector:
- Keylogger: The keylogger records every keystroke and entry on the monitored phone. It easily captures usernames and passwords to every account. Typed messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Skype are all recorded and uploaded to your secure online account where you can view them the same way you view your bank statement or credit card statement.
- Social Media: Collects entire incoming and outgoing messages from Facebook. Instagram and Snapchat.
- Enhanced GPS: The upgraded GPS function allows you to locate a device and provides location to within just a few feet in most cases.
YouTube Parental Controls
YouTube is the source for entertainment, videos and TV shows. To keep your kids entertained, but to filter out the adult content, YouTube offers a parental control feature called Restricted Mode. Essentially it avoids the most inappropriate and offensive video content on YouTube.
- Open YouTube app on Android device, tap on the three dots
- Tap on “Settings” in the account menu options.
- Toggle on “Restricted Mode Filtering”
- Choose “Strict” in the Restricted Mode Filtering options.
Facebook is the most used social media platform today. It requires its users to be 13 years of age or older to sign up. To make sure your child isn’t being exposed to adult content or inappropriate ads and has privacy settings on to protect them, follow these steps.
- Go to the settings tab on your child’s Facebook app on their phone and scroll to ‘Privacy shortcuts’
- Go to ‘Privacy Check-up’. This takes you through three steps to make sure your child is sharing their content with the right people.
- Select continue to choose who to share Facebook posts with. This could be a link, video, a photo or a story. Make sure your child has selected ‘friends’ to prevent strangers seeing your child’s content.
- The next section on the ‘Privacy checker’ is all about your child’s profile, including who they share their phone number, email address and birthday with. We would recommend your child provides as little information as possible. If you do want to include the data, simply ensure the ‘friends’ options is clicked here.
- On the main menu – click ‘Who can see my stuff‘ – If your child has selected ‘friends’ on the ‘Privacy check-up beforehand, ‘friends’ will be selected here too
- Anyone can send you a Facebook ‘Friends’ requests but if you want to make sure only ‘friends of friends’ can, click this option under ‘Who can send me friend requests‘.
Blocking people on Facebook – If your child has been harassed on Facebook or would like to block people causing them harm, tap ‘ How do I stop someone bothering me’ and type in their name. Facebook also gives you the option to report the user that is harassing you.
Facebook has created a separate Messenger app designed just for teens and kids. They have partnered with parents and experts to create Messenger Kids. This app makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends. The app offers masks, frames, stickers and GIFs and kids learn to express themselves.
Parents get to decide who their kids can connect with on Messenger Kids and can access their messages at any time. Parents can block people in the app and report content that is not appropriate. The app is also ad-free.
Setting up these iPhone parental controls will give you the peace of mind you need to know your child’s digital life is being safely managed. Follow the instructions in Screen Time settings to ensure extra security measures are enabled on your child’s device. And for extra monitoring to make sure your child isn’t a victim of cyberbullying or an online predator use a parental monitoring app like PhoneSpector.